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Interview with Lizzy Owen: FGI Vanderbilt Student Interning at NW Mutual

15 h

igh-school students from First Generation Investors (FGI) participated in an 8-week long internship led by financial advisors from The Sanczyk Group at Northwestern Mutual this summer. They learned about a range of topics including asset allocation, retirement planning, student loans credit and insurance from the team at The Sanczyk Group. “Lizzy’s questions have been well thought out and insightful,” says Steven Sanczyk, “the internship demonstrates how our team helps our clients achieve their goals and gives the interns an opportunity to hear from guest speakers about their career paths and achievements. We’re excited to have the opportunity to influence the students’ career aspirations and financial futures. It is amazing to see the impact our former intern, Will Juhlin, is having on the FGI Vanderbilt Chapter.” Interns also had the opportunity to listen to various speakers across the finance industry reflect on their careers and offer advice to those interested in learning more about career paths that relate to investing including investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, and trading. One of the interns, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Owen, is a student at Valor Collegiate and FGI Vanderbilt. She recently sat down with Vanderbilt Chapter President Will Juhlin to discuss her experience thus far in the internship. Will: So here we have Lizzy Owen who was one of my FGI Vanderbilt students this past spring. I’m going to ask her a few questions about her experience with the Sanczyk Group Internship and FGI. Super happy that we were able to set this up Lizzy! After the program this spring did you have any desire to learn more about investing and finance in general?

Lizzy: Yes definitely! I actually started doing my own research in learning the history of the stock market. I thought that would be really important to know so that I can use it to evaluate current things that are going on in the markets. Honestly I just think it’s really cool, at this point it’s fun to me.

Will: That’s awesome, that’s how it should be! So before this summer were you at all familiar with the internship process? Did you know what it meant to be an intern?

Lizzy: I would say no, just because I’m more of a visual person I have to see things to learn about them. I had heard about internships but I didn’t know much about them.

Will: How did you hear about this opportunity? When you first saw the opportunity to participate in the internship, what made you decide to apply?

Lizzy: I first heard about it through an email you had sent out to me, and I decided to apply because about two weeks before my dad was showing me the stock market and I thought it was so cool that he was actually making money off of it. He had all of these stocks he was showing me and I just realized that I want to make more money than him. So I told him that if I can build up more money than him, he has to pay me to do his finances.

Will: Making a competition out of it, I love it! I was actually just going to ask you about that, I know that you had mentioned to me in the spring that you wanted to learn more about investing in order to compete with your dad. So between FGI and the internship, do you feel like you’ve gotten enough background knowledge to level the playing field a little bit?

Lizzy: Definitely, right now I’m saving up money so that I can actually buy my own stocks, but I still haven’t opened an account yet.

Will: We’ll pass your account on to you once you graduate and are 18, but I absolutely love that you’re saving already. So overall, what would you say have been some of the best things about the internship?

Lizzy: It was definitely gaining more knowledge, and meeting you was great.

Will: Is there anything specific that you learned from the internship that you think you’ll continue to use in the future?

Lizzy: Definitely making connections, that was the number one thing that each and every one of the speakers I listened to spoke about. Even if you’re the best at what you do, you won’t get anywhere if you don’t know anyone. I’m definitely not a social butterfly but I’m going to make a big effort to come out of my shell and establish more connections after this summer.

Will: Love to hear that, Jude said something very similar. I think there’s a lot of value in knowing the value of networking as early as you do now. Even if you aren’t at a point where you’re using connections to find an internship or a job, it’s still really helpful to network early and get a sense of what different people in different roles actually do in relation to each other. And having that network built up before you actually start looking for jobs is a massive leg up. Would you recommend that other FGI students participate in the internship? And if so, what Advice would you have for them?

Lizzy: Yes, I’d definitely recommend it. And the advice I’d give would be to just be professional. Like I said, you never know who you’re going to meet. I think that having your camera on, and looking more professional can really help you come off in a more professional way and can help you make better relationships with the people that you do talk to.

Will: So I know that you had also told me in the spring when I had talked to you that you were interested in pursuing journalism or finance. Has the internship kinda steered you in one direction more so than the other?

Lizzy: It’s definitely steering me more towards finance, but I still want to experience other things in regards to journalism. I’m still writing my book too, I actually read it over the other day and didn’t like it so I scrapped what I had and I’m going to start writing it over with a few new ideas that I had. Overall I’m going to try and balance it so that I can do both, with journalism and writing the book I think it will feel like more of a side hustle for me.


First Generation Investors First Generation Investors (FGI) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that teaches high school students in underserved communities the power of investing.